With points coming at a premium in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race, both teams came out swinging early. After a back and forth first period, fans were treated to numerous scoring chances and saves from both clubs. The second period belonged to the visiting Flyers, making the Bruins faithful extremely nervous.
The game would not be decided until to closing seconds when a seemingly harmless wrist shot found the back of the net.
It only took two minutes for tempers to run high between the two rival clubs. After a hard body check by Matt Beleskey on Flyers defender Shayne Gostisbehere, Brandon Manning challenged Beleskey, and they dropped the gloves. At the conclusion of the fight, the TD Garden was loud with appreciation of the play by Beleskey.
Following a fight, there is usually a boost in the pace of play and action on the ice, but this was a rare time when things slowed down. The minutes following the fight were plagued with sloppy play, bad passes, and whistles. Eventually, both teams found their groove and a flurry of scoring chances occurred.
The first quality scoring chance of the period took place during a Bruins’ power play about six minutes into the frame. While working the puck around the offensive zone, Torey Krug eventually got open and launched a one-timer towards the Flyers goaltender, but Steve Mason was able to come up with the save.
Following the Bruins’ power play, the Flyers decided to go on the attack with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds leading the charge. Simmonds and Giroux put a lot of pressure on the Bruins defense, which resulted in a bad line change for the home team and a Jakub Voracek breakaway. Tuukka Rask was able to make a tough toe save on the dangerous Voracek, but had some trouble controlling the rebound. Brayden Schenn thought he had a goal when he poked the puck past Rask, but the officials deemed the play dead and the game remained tied at zero.
With 7:39 left on the clock, Bruins forward David Pastrnak created a breakaway for himself after some impressive moves on the Flyers’ blue line, but Mason was able to shut him down.
Jakub Voracek gets a partial breakaway behind late B's change. Rask makes initial stop & Brayden Schenn w/rebound bid. Called no goal on ice
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 11, 2017
The best opportunity to score for the Flyers came after two quick penalties taken by the Bruins. With both Brandon Carlo and Brad Marchand in the box, the Flyers had 1:43 of five on three power play time. The power play was loaded with intensity as the Flyers sent numerous shots towards Rask, Adam McQuaid registered two blocks and crowds developed in front of Rask. When the power play time ran out, the Flyers had tallied seven shots, but none got past Rask.
Not long after the Flyers power play, the Bruins received one of their own when Travis Konecny was sent off for tripping. The Bruins were able to cash in on the power play this time after a turnover behind the net resulted in Patrice Bergeron finding Pastrnak in front of the net. Pastrnak’s shot beat Mason to the short side to give the Bruins a 1-0 advantage with 1:22 remaining in the period.
The second period opened up with the Flyers coming out strong and applying pressure on the Bruins. Just 1:27 into the frame, Simmonds grabbed a rebound off Rask, found Jordan Weal on top of the crease and Weal slammed the puck into the empty net. Weal’s third of the season tied the game at one.
Bruins’ coach Bruce Cassidy challenged the goal, claiming Simmonds was offside, but after a lengthy five-minute review the officials determined the call on the ice of a goal would stand.
The Flyers continued to dominate the rest of the frame while the Bruins struggled to gain control of the puck. Through the first 17 minutes of the period, the Bruins only registered four shots on goal. The visitors simply overwhelmed the home team with an aggressive forecheck and efficient breakouts.
The Bruins’ second line appeared to be the only group capable of generating offense throughout the period. On two separate occasions, they were able to create scoring chances, but the pressure was short lived after Mason made impressive saves on Pastrnak and Frank Vatrano.
Late in the period, Flyers forward Weal was sent to the penalty box for hooking McQuaid, giving the Bruins a chance to pump some life into their offense. However, they were unable to take advantage of the power play with the Flyers playing well on the penalty kill.
Despite the overall dominating effort by the Flyers, at the buzzer, the game remained tied a one. The Flyers outshot the Bruins nine to four in the period and had a 23-15 advantage through two periods on the shot board.
To open the third period, the Bruins changed up their lines to try and gain some momentum. The changes appeared to work early on as the Bruins were able to match the Flyers intensity from the second period. In the first five minutes, the clubs swapped scoring chances and big hits, but neither team could establish control of the game.
Around the eight minute mark, the ice started to tilt the Bruins way, and they were able to attack the Flyers often. The Bruins attempted to generate shots from the point and in front of the net, but could not get anything behind Mason.
In the closing minutes, the Flyers were able to make some plays in the Bruins’ zone with Simmonds leading their forecheck. Rask was forced to make a few routine saves, but the Flyers were never able to create any dangerous chances.
The game looked destined for overtime with the clock quickly winding down. With only seconds remaining, Bruins forward Drew Stafford skated the puck down the right wing, threw the puck on net and the puck found its way past Mason after deflecting off a Flyers defender. Stafford’s game-winner came with just 5.6 seconds remaining in the period, handing the Flyers a devastating 2-1 loss.
BOS-David Pastrnak (28) PPG assisted by Patrice Bergeron (27)
PHI-Jordan Weal (3) assisted by Wayne Simmonds (18) and Claude Giroux (35)
BOS-Drew Stafford (6) assisted by Kevan Miller (8)
THW THREE STARS
First: Drew Stafford (GWG)
Second: David Pastrnak (one goal)
Third: Wayne Simmonds (one assist)
Boston Bruins at Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena- Mar. 13 at 10 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, SNP, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: Bruins Lead 1-0
Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center-Mar. 13 at 7:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-SN1, SNE, SNO, CSN-PH, FS-O
2016-17 Season Series: Blue Jackets Lead 1-0
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.